Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chocolate Brownies with Espresso and White Chocolate Chips

Well people, I have absolutely outdone myself. It's not a joke this time. I have gone completely over the edge, combining all of my favorite things - chocolate, flour, espresso, and unicorn tears. Alright, I didn't actually use flour. Seriously though, I decided I wanted to feel like one of those people who gets motivated and then does something about it. What do they call those people? Oh right, successful. Ya. I wanted to feel like that. So.... normally, I take a recipe from one of my favorite wealthy, lovable, and slightly rotund television cooks - Paula Deen, Ina Garten, Guy Fieri (Ew gross. Totally kidding about the Guy Fieri thing) - adjust it to suit the little chocolate-loving fat kid who lives inside my head, and then eat until I feel better about myself or at least until Robert tells me I can come up from the basement. This time I decided to get a little creative and actually concoct my own recipe. I know. I know. I'm awesome. Take a moment and think about it. Done? Take your time. Now? Great. You see, if I'm ever going to realize my dream of being a power gay with two adoptees who lives off his husband's millions, well I'd better figure out something to contribute - a way to keep my man, as Snookie might say. Some people bring intellectual prowess, a god-like physique, or an astute literary mind. Me? I bring brownies and a profound love for Judy Garland. And so, I created my version of Chocolate Brownies with Espresso and White Chocolate Chips. AAAAH. The timer just went off. Checking the brownies...

Alright people. I'm back. These motherf***ers look AMAZING! Gooey chocolate with white chocolate chips just calling your name. "Hey! Psst. Hey You! Up there. Hate your job? Your loveless marriage? Eat me. You'll feel better." See people, as I always say, dessert can really heal or at least distract until the next counseling appointment with that self-righteous doctor who thinks she has everything figured out. You know? The one who apparently has no idea that she has a lateral lisp or that nylons shouldn't be worn with peep toe ballet flats.

I've placed my first totally original recipe below. Enjoy.

Chocolate Brownies with Espresso and White Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup (1 gloriously fattening stick) butter
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract (The real stuff. Not "vanilla flavoring")
2 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp espresso
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the base and sides of an 8 inch square pan with parchment (Or screw it and just spray the thing down with cooking spray. Better yet, line it with butter. Ya. Use butter)

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double-boiler - which is just a fancy word for a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the butter is melted, stir in the chocolate chips. (You will immediately want to pour the mixture into a mug and get to drankin'. BUT DON'T. Resist. It'll be worth it.) Stir in the brown sugar, the vanilla, and the pinch of salt. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and espresso. Sift away until everything looks well blended. (Make sure Miss Lohan is nowhere in sight. I hear she loves chocolate...not to mention powdered drugs...She might think you've come up with a mixture just for her. If she is nearby, assure her that you're using flour purchased at Trader Joes, rather than her favorite Wednesday afternoon snack, AKA "the good stuff" imported from Columbia.) Where was I? Oh right. Now add the two eggs "one at the time" - as Paula Deen says. Mix away until combined.

Now add your chocolate mixture to the flour mixture. Whisk and whisk til you can't whisk no more. Then add the white chocolate chips and the pecans. When the batter is nice and smooth pour it into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes.

Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes and then transfer the brownies to a chopping board. Cut into squares. Head to the deepest darkest corner of your apartment and silently eat them while you imagine what could have been.

The end.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Restorative Effect of Mac N' Cheese or I Eat To Numb The Pain

Cheese and Noodles Can Save Lives

My boyfriend, Robert, doesn't like dessert. I'm going to type that again lest you think your eyes have gone berserk. Here we go. Deep breath now: My boyfriend, Robert, doesn't like dessert. Truthfully, it's the biggest problem in our relationship. I finish eating dinner and I think, "Hm? What sort of chocolate cake, minty ice cream, or baked good can I stuff into my mouth," all the while ignoring the fact that I feel like Star Jones before bypass surgery but after she divorced her (allegedly) gay husband. Robert on the other hand thinks to himself, "Yum. That was delicious. I'm good for the next month." It's a problem that's most probably connected to my need to fill the deep gaping hole that is my spirit. But I don't want to think about that. Got anything chocolatey I can eat?

Sidenote: I realize it's been like ninety-two years since I last updated this blog's been hot in New York this summer. Ya! That's it! I'll take Lame Excuses For Not Updating My HILARIOUS Blog for a thousand!

Back to the story: So Robert has this new job and I' guessed it...mostly kind of being an actor/performer/swim lesson instructor/manny...all the while wishing that I could just be a dad and bake for my cute little Chinese adoptee. Anyway, he's got this new job and everyone gets super-stressed out there. I've tried to assuage their tightly-wound nervous systems with baked goods, and while each sweet confection has brought momentary calm to the Contemporary Menswear offices at Saks Fifth Avenue, I always felt like they wanted more. Dessert just wasn't cutting it. And let's be honest, a person can bake all sorts of things, sweet and savory. I've known for a while that I needed to bring out the big guns. Yes sir. You guessed it. I had to take out the Barefoot Contessa cookbook and open the page to the most mouthwatering, guilt-inducing, deliciousness since the Hostess Apple Fruit Pie. It was time to make The Barefoot Contessa's Macaroni and Cheese. With this recipe - and all of its caloric saturation - I'm bound to help Robert and his office mates survive the upcoming fashion week and maybe even a couple weeks after that. If anything, I'll motivate them to hit the gym because after they eat this mac and cheese, they're going to need to put in a few hours/days on the treadmill. Or they could just go the Lindsay Lohan way - cocaine, Starbucks coffee frapuccino, and a touch of self-hatred. I don't know. It seems to keep her pretty skinny. In any case, I hope they enjoy it and I hope you'll enjoy making it, eating it, and then feeling super guilty because you ate it.

Here comes my version of Ina Garten's Mac And Cheese.

Adapted from

• Kosher salt
• Vegetable oil
• 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
• 1 quart milk - That's 4 cups, in case you didn't know.
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 12 ounces Emmental Cheese, grated (4 cups)
• 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
• 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Great Grandma Haller's Lemon Cake

I'm BAAAAAAAACK. (Okay, now reread that sentence, but this time do it like that creepy blonde girl from the movie, Poltergeist.)
So after a ludicrously long absence, I have returned - in all my culinary glory - to the kitchen...right where I belong. I'm in the kitchen; I'm barefoot, but somehow I can't get the pregnancy thing to work out. I'll keep trying though. Good things come to those who never give up. Right? Right!
Let me just get a bit of sad news out of the way. The reason I haven't been baking over the last month or so is because I spent a good majority of my time flying to and from Los Angeles. My grandmother, Veronica McDermott, died at the age of 93. I happen to know she was the coolest lady who every lived AND that she was born in 1917! Do you know what that means?! It means she lived through a lot. A world war. The Civil Rights Act. Vietnam. The Reagan Administration for Christ's sake. Dynasty AND Dallas. She survived both of those shows...not to mention the Pog craze of the early 90s.
In all seriousness, I wanted to think of a way to pay tribute to a woman who loved her family with her entire being. At first it didn't feel possible, but on the day before grandma's funeral, which also happened to be the day before my brother's birthday, we all gathered for a meal and dessert - clearly my favorite part of any meal. We had what we always have for dessert at family gatherings - my great grandmother's lemon cake. DELISH! It occurred to me that the best way for me to keep my grandmother's memory alive, and to share a small part of what she meant to me with the people I love was to share the recipe for this cake which has been the centerpiece for countless family birthdays, weddings, and graduations. This recipe was passed down from my great grandmother to my grandmother and I plan on passing it on to my children (I told you I'm gonna keep trying), and now to all of you. I hope you enjoy it.
If you've still got your grandma, go ahead and giver her a hug. Tell her you think she's great.

Great Grandma Haller's Lemon Cake:

1 lemon cake mix
1 small box of lemon jello
4 eggs
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of oil

Mix all ingredients
Pour into greased 13x9x2 pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

While cake is baking, prepare glaze:
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
2 tbsp. of butter (melted)
Juice of 2 lemons

After taking the cake from the oven, while it is still warm, poke holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick and pour the glaze over the cake.

Cool and Enjoy !!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

God Save The Queen - or at least feed her

Well friends, I'm back. The check cleared and I was able to purchase chocolate chips, fire up the oven, and bake.

But being the fairly politically conscious person I am, I just couldn't help myself from being moved by a story I saw on the nightly news. Apparently, the Queen of England is beside herself with anxiety. Something has her adult diapers (which I'm sure are Burberry or Hermes) in a twist. What you may ask? Well two things really: First of all, her eldest grandson, the ever-adorable-despite-the-balding, Prince William, has been dating his girlfriend for like a gazillion years and he won't marry her. According to my sources...Extra, Access Hollywood, and the NY local ABC news...the queen has told the prince in no uncertain terms that it's time to get hitched!
Well, little Billy prince man refuses to do so.

Aside from that issue, the queen was so overwhelmed by the economic crisis in England she decided, as a sign of solidarity to her people, to take the train - probably to get to the palace.
Ya know, if I were currently living in England, struggling to pay my rent and feed my little corgi puppy, I'd be pretty cheesed off (that's Brit for "pissed off") if the queen, who nobody elected and who lives the good life as the result of the money she earns from what is essentially the most incredible welfare system EVER, decided she'd help me by taking the damn train. How about you sell the crown jewels or one of those ridiculous ermine coats you're always parading around in and give the money to a few of your loyal subjects?

Ugh. Now I'm frustrated!

But that's okay because I baked today. My original thought was to bake something for the queen in order to help her calm down. It had to be something British. Unfortunately, the Brits aren't exactly known for their culinary mastery...or their dental care (sorry Brittany, but it's true). After a few hours of concentrated meditation and about 200 episodes of Keeping Up Appearances on PBS, I decided to bake CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES. They were easy to make and turned out amazingly well! In fact, they taste of all things British - mostly irony and socialized medicine, with a nice chocolaty finish! Delish! Enjoy folks!

Here's the Recipe:

Adapted from Bon Appetit

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced

• 1 teaspoon (packed) grated lemon peel

• 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

• 3/4 cup chilled buttermilk

• 1 large egg yolk

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• Milk (for glaze)


Butter and flour baking sheet. Sift 2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into large bowl. Add butter and lemon peel; rub in with fingertips until butter is reduced to size of rice grains. Mix in chocolate chips. Whisk buttermilk, egg yolk and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; mix until dough comes together in moist clumps. Gather dough into ball. Press dough out on lightly floured surface to 8-inch round; cut round into 6 wedges. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 400°. Brush scones lightly with milk; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until scones are crusty on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Too Broke To Bake

You know what sucks about being broke? Like everything. Everything sucks about being broke. But the most annoying, most frustrating, most sucky thing about it is that you can't do exactly what you want to do whenever you want to do it. Say, for example, that I want to rent a pony, ride sidesaddle down Broadway and parade around Columbus Circle like the Queen of can't do that unless you have money. I know. I tried. The people at the Central Park stables laughed me out of the place and I ended up riding the subway down to Columbus Circle like every other bum in NY. Lame. I know.

And so this is why you - my wonderful obsessed blog fans - were unable to bask in my culinary wonder this week. I was just too damn broke. I know you're shocked. I look really wealthy. I live in a new mansion. Well folks, it's all fake. Lies built on a bed of deceit. I couldn't even afford chocolate chips this week! Although truthfully, I wasn't gonna bake with them. I was just gonna sit in the corner of my room and slam them til the hurt went away. No big deal.

Stay tuned though kids. I'm gonna bake next week. I'll just use my credit card. Why pay now when you can pay later? Right Suze Orman? Right! She's so gay.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How To Buy Friends: A guide to baking your way to popularity

Robert started a new job last week. He'll be working as an Assistant Buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. Exciting right? Definitely. But enough about Robert. This is my self-serving blog, not his. I'm not sure quite why, but for some reason I am determined to be popular with Robert's new office mates - hopefully, more popular than Robert. And I know as well as anybody that the best way to bribe/buy friends (aside from joining a sorority or fraternity. Don't hate. It's the truth.) is to cook for them. Now, today is St. Patrick's Day, but since I really can't stand foods with themes (or board games, which I know have nothing to do with this) I decided to bake my favorite cookies. MOLASSES AND GINGER COOKIES. They're super sweet and spicy (golf claps for that alliteration) just like me. Most importantly, they're easy to make and are sure to win me tons of friends whom I don't know and probably will never meet, but hopefully they'll read my blog and one of them will decide to make me an internet superstar so that I can retire at an inappropriately young age and raise children...well...adopt children and then send them to boarding school until they're 18. Don't judge. We all have our dreams.

Molasses and Ginger Cookies


• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup margarine, softened
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 2 tablespoons white sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

The Pumpkin That Changed My Life

It rained today in New York - probably because the last few days were warm and sunny and a bunch of overzealous New Yorkers decided to tromp around Central Park wearing awful cargo shorts like it was the middle of summer, and in doing so ruined all hope of an early (and warm) spring. Take it easy, New York. Take it easy! UGH! I am of the opinion that God is mostly spiteful and when he notices we're having too much fun, too early on in the season, he thinks of ways to spoil things. And considering his apparent and much-talked-about omnipotence, a day full of rain must have been easy to cook up. Of course, none of this has anything to do with anything except for that because it rained I decided to do what I always do on rainy days when I don't have to go to my day job and change the lives of kids on the Upper East Side: think about food, cook food, and eat food. Don't worry. I don't digest. As a dancer, I'm totally opposed to digestion - haven't had anything to do with it in years. (Maybe I should have issued a bulimia joke warning before that little zinger. Sorry. Kind of.)

On today's menu were Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Um...for serious...these changed my life. Don't get confused though: I'm not going to move to some God-forsaken rural town, grow pumpkins, live off the grid, and wear organic cotton BUT I'll definitely be much more aware of the needs of pumpkins everyone. Each One Teach One right Precious? What? Anyway. These cookies are DA BOMB! Yep! Hello 1995! DA BOMB!!! As you may know, since you're obsessed with my blog, my goals in baking/blogging are two-fold: total shameless self-promtion, and becoming the most popular person in Robert's office...including Robert. I'm pretty sure these cookies are going to give me an advantage. They're completely moist and full of flavor. Like me. EW!!!! (Sorry for that one mom.)

p.s. If you're feeling depressed and you tend to eat your feelings like I do, then these are just the ticket!

Here's the recipe:
Adapted from


• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1/2cup brown sugar (just cuz everything tastes better with it)
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil (used instead of butter to make the cookies incredibly moist)
• 1 egg
• 2 cups whole wheat flour (ya know? To make them healthy)
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 teaspoons buttermilk (yep buttermilk. My favorite compound noun.)
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups dark chocolate chips


1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.

2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips.

3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.